"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
I read two disturbing stories online yesterday... stories with a pretty clear cause and effect (see below).
The first reports that President Bush is resisting Tony Blair's call for all G8 countries to double their aid for Africa.
The second reports Kofi Annan and UNAIDS chief Peter Piot as saying the funding gap between what is being given and what is needed is making it unlikely for the world to meet the Millennium Development Goal of halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
Martin Luther King said
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Articles like these are stories not of lack of resources but of lack of will.
It is encumbent upon us as Christian Americans not to be silent about things that matter.
Please, contact your government officials and demand a commitment in the G8 Summit of doubling Aid for Africa.
If you haven't joined the Episcopal Public Policy Network, please list of Episcopal members of Congress: -------------------------------------------- First article -- from yesterday's New York Times
WASHINGTON, June 1 - President Bush refused on Wednesday to budge on his administration's opposition to doubling aid for Africa, a major proposal on the agenda for a summit meeting of industrial nations next month in Scotland.
The long-simmering dispute could culminate next week when Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain, who has advocated the plan, visits Washington in advance of the July session, a meeting of the Group of 8. As host of the meeting, Mr. Blair set the agenda, and he argued during his successful campaign for a third term in office that the world's richest nations had to make a $25 billion increase in support for Africa. But Mr. Bush has been cool to the idea from the start and has resisted making new aid commitments.
Asked Wednesday about the issue, Mr. Bush said, "It doesn't fit our budgetary process."
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Thursday told a U.N. special conference on HIV/AIDS that the global response to the disease was insufficient, saying "the epidemic continues to outrun our efforts to contain it."
The executive director of UNAIDS, Dr. Peter Piot, also told the conference that the AIDS epidemic needs to get the same attention from world leaders as "the most urgent security threats and crises" and "not an iota less."
Piot said a funding gap of billions needs to be closed to ensure universal access to HIV prevention and treatment.
"Nothing less than universal access to effective HIV prevention and treatment will be sufficient if we are to keep this epidemic from engulfing the next generations," he said.
The one-day gathering of representatives from more than 120 nations, including 40 health ministers, is gauging progress in meeting commitments made at the first global gathering at the United Nations on HIV/AIDS and spelled out in the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS.
Annan praised prevention programs in Brazil, Cambodia and Thailand.
In a report released at Thursday's gathering, Annan said that "the overall epidemic continues to expand with much of the world at risk of falling short of the targets set forth in the declaration."
"While political commitment to the AIDS response has become significantly stronger since 2001, it remains inadequate in many countries in which the epidemic is emerging as a major problem," Annan said.
"Strong and energetic leadership is especially vital in all countries in Asia and Eastern Europe, where the opportunity to prevent the epidemic from becoming generalized is quickly vanishing."
The following are key findings of the U.N. report:
Many of the most affected countries are at risk of falling short of the target of reducing by 2005 the level of infection in young men and women 15 to 24.
While those on antiretroviral therapy increased by nearly two-thirds during the second half of 2004, 12 percent of people who need such treatment in low and middle-income countries were receiving it as of December.
Many countries have yet to adopt legislation that will prevent discrimination against people living with HIV, and even fewer have enacted measures to promote and protect the human rights of vulnerable populations.
There is a growing crisis of HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, but "national efforts and the level of donor support are currently not sufficient."
There is an "acute shortage of trained personnel who possess the requisite skills and expertise."
Spending trends will cause a "significant shortfall" by 2007.
Piot also said that "over the past four years two disquieting facts become evident: One is that AIDS is an unprecedented global crisis. There is simply no other example of that kind."
"The other is that until and unless we control this epidemic, it will continue to expand [and] worsen for decades, killing unbelievably large numbers of people and wrecking societies."
EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.
Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.
"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."